Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Luton Town last Friday extended our impressive record against teams playing against the Blues for the first time in the Premier League.
The Hatters were the 28th Premier League newcomers to face Chelsea since the second season of the competition in 1993/94. However, like many of the teams who came before them, they were left without any reward from their first encounter against the Blues as Raheem Sterling’s brace and Nicolas Jackson’s first goal for the club saw them leaving Stamford Bridge empty-handed.
Chelsea have now won 23 of 28 matches in total against league debutants but our recent record is even more impressive with victories in 15 of the last 16 encounters dating back to the 2002/03 season.
That campaign saw a pair of teams from the West Midlands make their Premier League bows with both comfortably beaten at the Bridge when they met the Blues for the first time. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Graeme Le Saux gave us a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion while an Eidur Gudjohnsen double and a fine finish by Gianfranco Zola secured a 3-0 victory over Birmingham City.
West Brom’s Black Country rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers didn’t fare too well when they welcomed Chelsea to Molineux in September 2003. An excellent strike from distance by Frank Lampard broke the deadlock and Hasselbaink and Damien Duff also got on the scoresheet before Hernan Crespo came off the bench to notch his first two goals for the club as we completed a 5-0 thumping.
Crespo was again on target two seasons later in far more dramatic circumstances when we kicked off our defence of the Premier League title with a visit to Wigan Athletic. The Latics impressed on their top-flight debut and appeared to have held out for a point before the Argentinian’s stunning left-footed effort deep into stoppage time handed us a 1-0 triumph.
The 2006/07 season featured a tempestuous clash at Reading in which both teams had a player sent off and the visitors finished the game with John Terry in goal after both Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini had been knocked out and taken to hospital. Amidst all of that, Chelsea got the only goal of the game just before half-time when Lampard’s free-kick ricocheted into the net off Ivar Ingimarsson.
The 2008/09 campaign brought our first Premier League matches against Stoke City and Hull City with straightforward away wins for the Blues in both games as goals by Jose Bosingwa and Nicolas Anelka saw off the Potters 2-0 and strikes by Lampard, Anelka and Florent Malouda despatched the Tigers 3-0.
Burnley were beaten 3-0 at the Bridge in 2009, their Lancashire rivals Blackpool suffered a 4-0 defeat a year later and Welsh sides Swansea City and Cardiff City both found themselves on the wrong end of 4-1 losses when they travelled to West London in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
Our run of 11 straight victories against Premier League newcomers came to an end when we were surprised 1-0 at home by Bournemouth in December 2015. However, we returned to winning ways two years later when we won 3-1 at Huddersfield Town and saw off Brighton 2-0 on Boxing Day.
Prior to Luton’s visit last weekend, Chelsea’s most recent match against a brand-new Premier League team was the west London derby at Brentford in October 2021; a match highlighted by a stunning volley by Ben Chilwell and a series of breath-taking late saves by Edouard Mendy as the Blues held out for a 1-0 victory.